Cancer Clinical Trials

Sharp is a leader in experimental clinical oncology — offering patients access to the latest cancer treatments.

Sharp has more than 20 open clinical trials for almost every tumor site at any time. These trials are vital to finding and advancing cancer treatment options and play a key role in saving the lives of more cancer patients.

Sharp is designated as a Quintiles Prime Site, which means that Sharp medical facilities play an enhanced role in global clinical research and the development of new and more effective medicines.

How Clinical Trials Work

Today, more people than ever are surviving cancer. As medical researchers and physicians find new ways to treat cancer, survival rates for a number of different forms of cancer will surely rise.

Finding new, improved treatments is the central goal of clinical trials, which are usually studies of experimental medicines conducted with patients. But before studies of possible therapeutic agents are tested with patients, they are investigated in the laboratory. Laboratory results often help by letting researchers determine which new treatments are more likely to provide better results than a previous treatment for a particular kind of cancer.

Once basic research indicates the possible benefits of a new treatment, clinical trials enable health care providers to learn whether a new treatment is safe and effective. In fact, most clinical trials are classified as Phase 1, in which new formulations are tested for safety; Phase 2, in which the treatment is tested for effectiveness; or Phase 3, in which researchers look at both safety and effectiveness in a larger group of patients.

Only after a new treatment passes all of the clinical trial phases is it then cleared for general public use. More likely than not, the most favorable treatments today began in clinical trials.

Care and Options During the Clinical Trial

During your treatment in a clinical trial, you will be monitored and observed closely. If at any time during the trial, you or your doctor believes the treatment is not in your best interest to continue, you can leave or be removed from the study.

Before you sign an informed consent form, read it carefully. It should clearly outline both the hoped-for benefits of the clinical trial and the risks involved. If there is anything on the informed consent form that you do not understand, ask your physician about it before signing. When you feel comfortable that you fully understand the pros and cons of participating in the trial, you will be able to sign the informed consent form with confidence.

Clinical Trial Locations

The following sites are conducting oncology clinical trials:

Costs of Clinical Trials

Although experimental treatment is always free, there may be some costs to you involved in examinations, lab work or scans. Make sure that you discuss and understand the costs before you join any study.

Deciding If a Clinical Trial Is Right for You

Before beginning in a clinical trial, you should be clear about your motivations. Do you want to feel better? Are you feeling OK but want to increase your chances for greater longevity? Or, do you want to contribute to a research effort than may help others? Even the best of new treatments are rarely total cures for a kind of cancer, so make sure your expectations are reasonable and are supported by your doctor and the researchers.

How to Participate

If you think you may want to join a clinical trial, ask your physician if any study at Sharp may be appropriate for you. Your doctor should explain the criteria for trial eligibility — the stage of the cancer and your health status — and the potential benefits and risks, such as side effects or other impacts on your health.

Find a San Diego Oncologist

To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego oncologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.

For More Cancer Care Information

If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, please consult with your physician or contact the clinical trials manager at 858-939-5062.